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Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Bell ton puts England in box seat: T4D3

England 238 & 5/234 (74ov, Bell 105*/189b/10x4, Pietersen 44/84b/6x4, Harris 20-1-74-3, Lyon 2/46). Lead Australia 270 (89.3ov, Rogers 110/250b/14x4, Watson 68, Broad 24.3-71-5, Swann 2/48, Anderson 2/66) by 202 runs with 5 2nd inns wits in hand: T4/5 D3/5 at Chester-Le-Street Durham.

in the second half of the day Ian Bell scored his third century of the series, and with support from Kevin 
Pietersen and Jonny  Bairstow, stroked England ahead of Australia and well on the way to an impregnable position.

At the end of the previous day's play Australia's situation looked potentially good. But while the worst case scenario didn't come to pass the fact that the last 5 wickets, including Chris Rogers, who made only 5 of them. added a less than expected 48 must have given England some heart. But Australia had a first innings lead, which should have done likewise for them.

And the English top order crumbled yet again, this time in the face of some superb bowling by Ryan Harris (watch a replay of him bowling Joe Root if you can). At 3/49 - effectively 3/17 -  it seemed that the match was pivoting back towards Australia.

Enter Ian Bell. Over the ensuing hours he once again imposed his skills and determination on the match, and in doing so has probably saved his team from defeat and possibly, depending on what happens in the first part of D4, set up a win. Masterful (again).

As if Bell's performance isn't enough Australia look like being a player down for the rest of the Match, as Shane Watson has apparently succumbed yet again to (unspecified) injury/injuries. His bowling will be missed but his batting will be required if Australia is to have much of a chance of chasing down a target of 250+ which the pundits, eg Shane Warne & Andrew Strauss, have suggested will be  sufficient, and which the scorecard suggests is more than likely. 

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